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Supporting excellence in elections: the cases of Nepal and Timor-Leste

April 29, 2020
<p>BRIDGE trainings promote personal transformation and institutional change</p>

BRIDGE trainings promote personal transformation and institutional change

BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections) is a modular professional development programme with a focus on electoral processes developed by five leading organizations in the democracy and governance field (including International IDEA). The BRIDGE partners have jointly committed to developing, implementing and maintaining the most comprehensive curriculum and workshop package available on this topic.

In Timor-Leste, the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE) and National Election Commission have been implementing BRIDGE since 2001. The commission and STAE have run more than 40 BRIDGE workshops, most recently in August 2019, with the support of International IDEA and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

‘BRIDGE has been used as a tool to develop the capacity of staff of both electoral management bodies. Most of the election management bodies’ staff and most of the senior staff have attended BRIDGE courses.’ — August Pereira, advisor at STAE

Over the past 19 years, electoral management bodies around the world have used the BRIDGE curriculum and adult-learning methodology as a professional development tool. During this time, International IDEA and its partners have been responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining the training curriculum, which includes more than 24 modules on electoral administration.

Nepal has also used the tool as part of its broader capacity development framework. The Election Commission of Nepal (ECN) has been implementing BRIDGE since 2008 with support from International IDEA, the UNDP and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). The ECN ran 87 workshops using various BRIDGE modules for 1,912 participants between 2008 and 2016. According to a 2018 evaluation report commissioned by the UNDP, ‘a deep commitment to BRIDGE was demonstrated by past and present Commissioners and Secretaries’ and ‘there has been both positive personal transformation and institutional change’. The report also mentions that ‘there has been a demonstrated paradigm shift in the ECN’s training modality’.

‘[The programme has] helped ECN to move from an outdated training methodology to a more modern form and comprised a sort of self-actualization for those who took part. BRIDGE has changed the learning landscape of the ECN.’ — Former election commissioner, Election Commission of Nepal

The UN Secretary-General recently described BRIDGE as a ‘key platform for building electoral capacity and institutional memory’. In 2020, the BRIDGE partners will launch an updated curriculum—BRIDGE Version 3— as part of the project’s 20th anniversary.

Read more stories about International IDEA's results in our Annual Outcome Report 2019: Democracy In Action.

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